Fiftieth anniversary of the Comboni Association Service for Migrants and Refugees


Saturday, January 12, 2019
In 1969, the Comboni Association Service for Migrants and Refugees (ACSE) was founded by Fr. Renato Bresciani. Initially, it was mostly for immigrant Sudanese students but later became a service for all immigrants. This year it is celebrating its Golden Jubilee.

St. John Paul II said that ACSE constituted a truly frontier initiative and a school for social workers which, in turn, would have inspired other similar initiatives. In fact, there followed such organisations as Caritas, the Community of Saint Egidio and the Astalli Centre as an evangelical expression of the imagination of charity.

For the celebration of the Jubilee, there are plans for many meetings on the theme of immigration which, it is hoped, will involve a considerable number of immigrants from Africa and the other continents. We will start with the presentation of ACSE from the figure of the Founder to the recent history of the Association. The Honourable Rutelli who knew and helped Fr. Bresciani very much, will be present. There will be testimonies by volunteers and immigrants … from the first to those of today. Senator Manconi will hold a conference on the present state of the question of immigration, taking into account the security decree. Invitations have been sent to the Presidents of the Camera, of the Region and of the Municipality as well as the Mayor of Rome.

Other meetings will be concerned with welcoming and integrating (Zanotelli and the Mayor of Riace), immigrant health and the dental surgery, an evening of music with the “ACSE Choir”, a meeting of volunteers and immigrants and the participation in the feast of peoples in Rome etc.

Apart from Strenna that briefly presents the life of Fr. Bresciani (edited by Fr. Aurelio Boscaini) and the history of ACSE (edited by Fr. Venanzio Milani), a more substantial book is being completed on the history of ACSE which is expected to be published in January.

A mobile display is also being prepared and an ACSE hymn is being composed under the direction of Fr. Fabrizio Colombo.

It is to be hoped that these celebrations may be an occasion to increase awareness in public opinion regarding immigration and find ever more volunteer collaborators, also among immigrants, at the service of migrants so that immigrants may be welcomed better and be helped by a real process of integration.